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Hum Pathol. 2001 Aug;32(8):887-9.

Are there histopathologic characteristics particular to fulminant hepatic failure caused by human herpesvirus-6 infection? A case report and discussion.

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Department of Pathology, Central Laboratory for Electron Microscopy, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


An 8-month-old boy was admitted to a neighboring hospital for severe liver dysfunction and drowsiness 4 days after a diagnosis of exanthem subitum. A diagnosis of fulminant hepatic failure was made, and liver biopsy was performed during the acute stage. The presence of human herpesvirus-6 variant B (HHV-6B) DNA was shown in liver tissue by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in the endothelium of the portal vein by in situ hybridization (ISH). Histologic examination showed microvesicular steatosis resembling that of Reye's syndrome, even though aspirin had not been prescribed. We considered HHV-6 to be the causative agent in this case and report what is perhaps the first precise histologic description of fulminant hepatic failure caused by HHV-6.

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